Mougins, a haven of serenity

By August 26, 2013Experiences

If you want to feel the essence of Cote d’Azur there’s a perfect place to do just that. A place defined by history, cultural heritage and, above all, stunning scenery: Mougins.

A natural setting which attracted many celebrities, including Yves Saint Laurent, Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf, Catherine Deneuve and Pablo Picasso. Welcome to one of the hidden gems on the French Riviera: Mougins! Pablo Picasso loved Mougins so much that he spent the last twelve years of his life there, enjoying the imprint of the past subtly conserved, the harmony of the colors and the quality of light. Picasso was just one of the many artists and celebrities who considered Mougins as the perfect refuge whenever the pressure was too high. Far from the maddening crowd, a serene place where they could get away from it all. Some of them visited regularly, others even lived there. A 15-minute drive from Cannes and a 30-minute drive from Nice, Mougins is located on the heights of Cannes, in the district of Grasse. Surrounded by forests and woodlands, beautiful to behold and hard to forget, Mougins has an international reputation for its gourmet cuisine and for its links with the art world.

Mougins has been frequented and inhabited by many famous people, including Jean Cocteau, Yves Saint Laurent, Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf, Catherine Deneuve and Pablo Picasso.

Moreover, due to its proximity to Cannes, Mougins is often the destination of choice for celebrities during the renowned Film Festival. However, Mougins is not at all about glitz, glamour and expensive cars. The magic of this superb medieval village lies in the pines, olives and cyprus trees surrounding it. In the breathtaking views over Cannes, Grasse, the Esterel Massif, Prealpes and the Valmasque forest, which covers 427 hectares. All these can be thoroughly enjoyed form the Old Village (Vieux Village), which sits at the heart of Mougins on a hilltop location, 260 meters above the sea level. On the village outskirts, luxurious properties owned by celebrities from all over the world are hidden behind magnificent Mediterranean parks and gardens. Hence, no wonder Mougins continues to be one of the “must-see” places on Cote d’Azur for those discerning travellers.

The charm of narrow roads, colourful flowers, ancient houses, beautifully designed window frames and picturesque doorways with each stone carefully restored captures your heart as soon as your arrive in the village.

Mougins shines on the cultural side, too. The Museum of Classical Art houses a permanent collection of both ancient and modern art. Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities – which include marble and bronze sculpture, vases, coins, jewellery, and glass – interline with classically inspired works by famous artists and sculptors: Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Henry Moore, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Damien Hirst and, of course, Pablo Picasso. Also located in the Vieux Village, Musee De la Photographie Andre Villers contains a permanent exhibition of portraits of Picasso as shot by major contemporary photographers. Tourists can’t overlook The Fontmerle Pond. A spectacular five-hectare pond on the edge of the Valmasque Park with the largest colony of lotus flowers in Europe, which bloom from July until September. The pond also has over sixty species of water birds and migrating birds. Notre-Dame-de-Vie, the 12th century chapel and Picasso’s villa – which can be viewed from the outside, without being open to public – are close to the pond, best accessed by car or bicycle.

Both the Vieux Village and the wider area of Mougins have excellent restaurants, reflecting their international reputation for gourmet cuisine.

Mougins is no stranger to Michelin-starred restaurants. A short walk down the hill from the village, restaurant Candille has one Michelin star. The chef is Serge Gouloumes, whose signature dishes incorporate exotic flavors within his Italian and Provençal based cooking. If you’re looking for traditional French cuisine, Le Bistrot de Mougins is the perfect place. For something light, a coffee or a glass of wine, head to Le Fontenoy cafe. L’Amandier de Mougins is another lovely restaurant. Completely refurbished, the restaurant has two terraces for outdoor dining which offer stunning views, especially at sunset. You can’t leave this haven of serenity without trying Le Moulin de Mougins. It was in this world famous hotel and restaurant converted from a 16th century oil mill that master chef Roger Vergé created his Cuisine De Soleil over forty years ago. Wine lovers will surely appreciate La Cave de Mougins. A sophisticated wine cellar and wine bar, it holds over 1,000 French wines, including many vintage labels, stocked in the 17th century vaulted, temperature-controlled cellar.